Travelling aboard a luxury yacht is always a great experience. You are out on the open seas for a spot of relaxation and a fun-filled vacation. However, amidst all the madcap antics that are bound to happen, it is necessary to ensure that appropriate safety measures are taken to prevent any accidental mishaps that might occur. In this article, we focus on safety on luxury boats and all that it entails.
Safety measures for luxury boats comprise of three primary areas – safety during operation to avoid emergencies like fires, safety in navigation, and the safety equipment required. Based on the rules laid down by the SOLAS convention, all these aspects need to addressed for luxury boats, in this case considered as passenger ships.
Luxury boats house passengers of all ages, from young children to aged individuals, which makes having the proper safety procedures in place even more important. These procedures differ from country to country, nevertheless, there are some basic guidelines that can be followed for a safe voyage. Let us now consider the three aspects of safety on luxury boats.
Operational Safety on Luxury Boats
A majority of the accidents that occur on luxury boats are due to human errors in judgement, or lack of training and practice. This is especially true for self-managed yachts, when a qualified crew is not necessarily on board. Operational hazards include fires, people overboard, and maintenance problems.
To ensure operational safety against fire hazards, all the people on the yachts should undergo at least a basic training session for fighting fires at sea. They should familiarise with the operation of the equipment required for fighting fires, such as portable fire extinguishers, water hoses, pumps, etc. Every person needs to be assigned specific responsibilities as per their capabilities and be aware of the location of this equipment on the ship. Fire-safety drills before the boat sails is a good idea as well.
Luxury yacht operators need to have a working knowledge of the various mechanisms of the boat. This is necessary because in case of emergencies such as a man falling overboard, the operator must be able to skillfully navigate back to the location and retrieve the capsized individual safely. To safeguard against such a possibility, all people on the yacht should carry personal life-saving devices at all times.
Maintenance problems are another factor affecting safety on board luxury boats. These come into picture during navigation and in the event of water sports. There are numerous elements of the boat that can cause physical harm if neglected or not maintained properly. For instance, if a person is swimming, appropriate care needs to be taken to ensure that they do not come close to any high-speed equipment like propellers. It is altogether better to have the yacht anchored in one place while enjoying water sports.
Safety in Navigation
Piracy and hijacking has become a major concern over the last decade in shipping. Passenger boats, such as luxury yachts, should be aware of the safer routes, so the voyage is not marred by any untoward incidents. Navigational safety includes studying and carrying detailed, accurate maps, even if the yacht relies on GPS-based navigation. Strong connectivity needs to be maintained to the coast at all times, informing coastal officials about the progress and status of the boat.
In addition, the operator must train to navigate the boat safely, using advanced sensors to detect sandbanks, icebergs, and other submerged threats. Strong lights for navigating the boat through the darkness are a must. In addition, you need to be well-versed with the signs and symbols dotting the waterways, if you are travelling along internal routes.
Navigation rules have to be strictly adhered to, with a complete understanding of what needs to be done while crossing or overtaking another boat. Safety equipment, such as two-way communication radios, GPS trackers for passengers, etc. are mandatory and need to be carried conscientiously.
For short day-trips, there are handy navigation guides available for boats, locally. For longer trips, you need to ensure that all the navigation equipment on your yacht is up-to-date and working well.
Safety Equipment on Luxury Boats
The loss of lives at sea due to inadequate personal safety equipment has led the International Maritime Organization to enforce strict rules regarding the quantity and quality of safety equipment on luxury boats.
Let us see what are some of the most commonly used personal safety devices:
1. Floatation devices
Flotation devices include lifejackets, lifebuoys, inflatable rafts, etc. that are used to help the passengers on the ship stay afloat in times of emergency. There are several quality lifejacket manufacturers in India, providing a range of lifejackets in different sizes and for different applications.
2. Distress signals
As the name indicates, distress signals are used to indicate that the person or the boat is in need of immediate help. For luxury boats that are close to the shore, distress signals like flares and smoke signals can be used. For boats that are farther away, emergency beacons and SOS signals are the best way to communicate. It is important to note that firing of pyrotechnics without due cause is a punishable offence, so distress signals should be kept out of the reach of children and never fired for a prank.
3. Fire extinguishers
Despite all precautions, in case a fire does break out on the boat, portable fire extinguishers are the best option to bring it quickly under control. There are different types of portable fire extinguishers, sold by boat manufacturers in India.
In addition to this basic overview, there are many other ways of ensuring safety on luxury boats. Avoiding consumption of alcohol, posting extra lookouts apart from the boat operator, ensuring proper ventilation to safeguard guests from harmful gas emissions, and staying alert at all times are some of the ways to prevent accidents on luxury boats.
This may sound like an obvious statement, but all the safety regulations that are followed by merchant or cargo ships are to be observed on passengers boats, and even more so since there is an added responsibility of human lives. In the initial stages, hiring an experienced crew can be an asset here, as they can guide you through the nuances of sailing for the first few voyages.
The seas can be a friend or foe depending on how seriously we take it. It is important to maintain a strong safety culture among all the people on the yacht, to avoid loss of life and property.
What are your thoughts on maintaining safety on luxury boats? Any further suggestions? Drop a comment to let us know!